Guardian America was launched today. This one passed me by somewhat… I didn’t really know it was coming. But come it did.
I’m not sure what it is.
It could be a new American newspaper. Except it doesn’t print. But then, why bother printing when people don’t read newspapers anymore anyway? Ok, it isn’t that drastic, but having a really good Guardian America website is obviously more valuable than having a really good Guardian America newspaper.
So in theory, that’s good. This could be the first serious attempt at an online-only ‘newspaper’. This I applaud; the amount of American traffic coming to the BBC and Guardian websites (and, indeed, the Daily Mail’s) is a good enough reason to pursue an American-led online paper. Where Guardian America falls short of being a paper is when it syndicates news from Guardian UK. Although, seeing as lots of news comes from agencies and wires anyway, this isn’t too much of a problem.
So is it a news newspaper? Or is it a new website? Is it neither? What the hell is it?!
The editor explains:
The journalistic shorthand version is that Guardian America is the US-based website of the Guardian newspaper of London and Manchester, which will combine content produced in the UK and around the world with content that we originate here to create a Guardian especially tailored to American readers.
So not quite a newspaper. Shame really: ‘Guardian America’ seems like a whole new product. Why not market this as merely an expanded and improved American news section of the site? The Guardian America banner promises too much.
Where Guardian America seems to fail most, I think, is that you constantly feel like you’re drifting away from the American content. Click on the story about why Guardian America is written in British English, and you’ll find yourself redirected to the English site, and before you know it, you’re faced with the English front page, top stories etc. Same with the blogs. If you click once or twice you’ll be faced with the British front to Comment is Free. It’s confusing.
If the Guardian want to do this properly, surely the smartest thing to do would be to launch it as guardianamerica.com. Or even just guardian.com.
In some closer-to-home news, another Lincoln blogger has emerged: Ben Reeves.